NETHERLANDS - Assets under management of Dutch pension funds increased by 3% during the fourth quarter of 2009 on the back of equity gains, data by the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) revealed.
The central bank - which is also the country's pension funds watchdog - said the funds' grew consecutively for the last four quarters and continued to shift assets from direct investments to mutual funds.
It added: "This growth reflected €5bn (US$6.9bn) worth of net securities purchases and price gains on shares and other equity by more than €18bn. Bond prices remained practically on a par with the previous quarter's level."
Invested pension capital stood at €649bn at the end of December, almost €20bn below the level it reached at the end of 2007.
In addition, Dutch pension funds securities transactions were characterised by an ongoing shift from direct investments to indirect investments via investment funds.
The portion of indirect investments in total pension fund investments increased to €373bn or nearly 58% as at December 31.
€299bn of this was accounted for by Dutch units related to pension funds' participation in mutual funds.
The DNB said these funds were set up by a number of large pension assets managers in order to create a pool of investments of pension funds and other institutional investors.
It added they are a relatively new form of assets management, which enables "economies of scale and enhances cost efficiency".
PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte must break up their consultancy and audit businesses into distinct firms to provide greater focus on the "most challenging and objective audits", the competition watchdog has said.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released its first batch of guidance setting out how the guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) conversion legislation may be used to resolve unequal payments.
This week's top stories include the government spending £800,000 on a Gogglebox advert and MPs writing to The Pensions Regulator about its engagement with the Railways Pension Scheme.